by Ali Hussain
ISLAMABAD: The government on Monday confirmed that 43 Pakistani pilgrims were martyred in the Mina stampede and announced Rs 0.5 million for each deceased family as well as Rs 0.2 million for the injured.
Speaking at a news conference, Prime Minister’s focal person on the Mina incident, Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry said the overall death toll in the Mina tragedy has reached 1,100 including 40 Pakistani pilgrims whose photos have been displayed at Pakistan’s Consulate in Jeddah.
About the slow response on part of the government of Pakistan, Chaudhry, who was appointed by the Prime Minister as his focal person on the Mina tragedy, stated that there was a chaotic situation in Saudi Arabia which resulted in the delay.
However, he said all the concerned officials of Ministry of Religious and Hajj Affairs and Foreign Office are in touch with Saudi authorities to get information and provide better medical treatment to 35 injured Pakistanis admitted in various hospitals.
He further said that 63 Pakistani pilgrims are still missing and efforts are afoot to recover them at the earliest. He said the families of the missing pilgrims and those deceased and injured can contact him on cell no. 0300-8504949.
Information about deceased or injured Pakistani pilgrims can also be taken from the toll-free number in Saudi Arabia: 0800-11 666 22, landline number in Pakistan and for callers from Saudi Arabia the number is 92-42-35880054. He said that 228 Pakistanis, who went missing after the stampede, were found and reunited with their families.
He said on the directives of the Prime Minister, Rs 500,000 would be given to heirs of each martyrs of Mina stampede and Rs 200,000 to each injured. Besides, he said that two or three family members of each martyr would be sent on Umrah on government expense and the process would begin as soon as Hajj operation is over and Umrah visas are issued by Saudi Arabia.
He further said the government would provide free medical treatment to the injured on their return. He said the concerned government authorities would remain in Mecca till completion of the Hajj operation. When asked whether the government of Pakistan is in touch with Saudi authorities to bring back the dead bodies to the country, he said that the government is in touch with Saudi Embassy here in Islamabad and it is likely they will convey the government today (Tuesday) whether the dead bodies would be brought back or buried in Mecca. However, he added that as per the tradition those died during Hajj to be buried in Mecca.
To another query whether government of Pakistan would also call for an investigation into the Mina tragedy, he stated that the Saudi government has already announced to investigate the incident and as soon as the findings are complete they will be shared with Pakistan and the government would share the information with the nation.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Religious Affairs has issued a list of 36 martyrs:
1. Hafsa Shoaib w/o [d/o] Muhammad Shoiab Shahid (Saddar Karachi)
2. Zareen Nasim w/o [d/o] Syed Nasim Ul Haq (Saddar Karachi)
3. Seyda Narjis Shahnaz w/o [d/o] Syed Amjid Mehmood
Shah (House No A-12 Sector C-3 Tehsil Mirpur)
4. Zainab w/o [d/o] Eid Muhammad (Dalbandin)
5. Mahmood Arshad s/o Atta Muhammad
6. Rasheedan Bibi w/o [d/o] Muhammad Yaqoob
7. Zahid Gul s/o Aslam Muhammad (Abbottabad)
8. Dr Ameer Ali Lashari
9. Makhdumzada Syed Asad Murtaza Gilani s/o Makhdum Syed Wajahat Hussain Gilani
10. Abdul Rehman s/o Ismail
11. Mrs Shehnaz Qamar w/o Abdul Rehman
12. Islam Ahmad
13. Bushra Bibi
14. Mohammad Hasrat s/o Ali Asghar
15. Azeem Khan s/o Qadir Khan
16. Mohammad Idress s/o Mohammad Din
17. Aamir Mohammad Malook
18. Gul Shahnaz w/o Ghulam Rabbani
19. Najma w/o Mukhtar Ahmad Khan
20. Noor Muhammad s/o Mir Ayub Khan
21. Muhammad Aslam s/o Muhammad Ishaq
22. Madina Bibi w/o [d/o] Muhammad Aslam
23. Touseef Iftikhar w/o [d/o] Iftikhar Ahmad
24. Muhammad Ismail Khan s/o Hidiyat Ali Khan
25. Bibi Zara w/o [d/o] Muhammad Naseem
26. Abdul Ahad s/o Badshah Mir
27. Haji Abbas Khan s/o Total Khan
28. Talmeez Ahmed
29. Siraj Ahmed Siraj s/o Muhammad Jamal (Jhang)
30. Mian Muhammad Riaz (Lahore)
31. Arif (Lahore)
32. Aziz Mai w/o [d/o] Noor
33. Bibi Shakira w/o [d/o] Dr Ashfaq
34. Asif Khan s/o Jan Said Mahmood
35. Muhammad Ibrahim Khan s/o Muhammad Gul
36. Muhammad Hassan s/o Khan Muhammad Amin Khan
Source: Business Recorder